Written by Dare Adekanmbi Thursday, 12 January 2012
There are strong indications that the leaders of the labour unions and civil society groups across the 36 states may have to work from secret locations, if the three-day-old strike continues beyond Friday.
The decision to go underground from next Monday, the Nigerian Tribune has been reliably informed, is to ward off the threats being received from “high places” on daily basis over the belligerent posture of various groups being coordinated by the labour leadership against subsidy removal.
At a meeting held in Ibadan on Wednesday, before the commencement of the day’s rally, a review of the protest was carried out and the action adjudged one of the most effective civil mass action in the history of the nation and the state.
“In view of the insistence of the Federal Government over the subsidy palaver as well as death threats being received almost on daily basis since the beginning of the strike on Monday, labour leader across the country are contemplating going underground to avoid being arrested by agents of the authorities.
“They are also going into hiding so as to implement strategies currently being put together to sustain the strike and its momentum until President Goodluck Jonathan caves in, bows to the resolve of the masses and revert petrol price to N65,” a source in the meeting said.
Meanwhile, there appears to be no let-up in the Ibadan episode of the protests and agitations spearheaded by labour unions and civil society organisations against the removal of subsidy on petrol, as social and economic activities remained paralysed in the metropolis on Wednesday, the third day of the general strike.
As they had been doing since Monday, when the nationwide strike action began, the leadership of the labour and other interest groups as well as tens of thousands of protesters converged on the secretariat of the state chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) as early as 7:30am to intimate the crowd with the itinerary for the day.
The mammoth crowd of demonstrators processed through major roads and streets before stopping at Idi Odo junction at Challenge, Ibadan, for the leaders of the protest to address them on the latest developments on the matter.
First was the state chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bayo Ajayi, who addressed the tumultuous gathering in Yoruba Language, in a message that resonated with the people.
Comrade Ajayi said there was nothing like subsidy, except what he called “fraud subsidy” and that the landing cost of petrol was N40, adding that Nigerians, rather than the government, had been subsidising the product to the tune of N25 a litre.
In his own address, the coordinator of the Joint Action Front and president of the University of Ibadan chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr Aremu Olanrewaju, debunked the claim by the Federal Government that about 35million of petrol was being used daily in the country and explained that only 12.1million was being used.
Labour rights activists, Comrade Femi Aborisade, in a remark, went down memory lane of the history of countries worldwide and submitted that no government had been able to subdue the resolve and will power of the citizens, adding that it would be in the president’s best interest to order the reversal of petrol price to N65.
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